With Hysteria and Art: Traumatic Coincidences we will research and work in progress by artists, musicians, scientists, academics and clinicians
Larry Achiampong, Candoco Dance Company with Farah Saleh and Dr Victoria Tischler, Cally Spooner with Dr Isabel Valli, Jocelyn Pook with Dr Stéphanie Courtade, Cara Tolmie, Florence Peake, Professor Sashi Sashidharan, and Professor Sander Gilman.
In this day-long symposium at Toynbee Studios PS/Y will share the research done in collaboration with artists, scientists, and clinicians towards the coming Hysteria 2017 programme. Commissioned artists will share research and work in development, some of which has been in collaboration with scientists and clinicians.
The project explores hysteria from different points of view. Along with an introduction from project director Errol Francis and curator Mette Kjærgaard Præst, the day will feature keynote addresses by Professors Sander Gilman from Emory University and Sashi Sashidharan from the University of Glasgow.
Artistic research presentations will be by artists Cally Spooner with Dr Isabel Valli, Larry Achiampong, Cara Tolmie, Florence Peake, composer Jocelyn Pook with Dr Stéphanie Courtade, and Candoco Dance Company with choreographer Farah Saleh and Dr Victoria Tischler.
Zadie Xa presents a new performance piece bringing together elements of video projection, sound and live storytelling. Written by Taylor Le Melle, Basic Instructions B4 Leaving is a non-linear narrative venturing into a distant cosmos where shape shifting, mutation and magic are the central themes explored.
For Hysterical X Visionist will present new material. His debut album Safe is a ‘personal portrait of anxiety’. It takes its listener on a journey through the human condition. In his own words the album is “a sound representation of an anxiety attack, from having that one thought and that thought turning into multiple thoughts, and finding yourself having an attack, and then coming out of that and managing to relax again. It takes you through that experience. That’s one of the reason’s it’s called ‘Safe’. For me, when I have anxiety I take myself away from the place that I’m in and take myself to somewhere I can be more in control.” (Dazed)
Hysterical X is part of PS/Y’s coming Hysteria programme, 2017 and follows on from Anxiety, 2014 and Anxious Xmas, 2013 and 2012.
PS/Y is a research, curating and public engagement group committed to exploring the interface of arts and health sciences. We are passionate about the role that notions of health and illness have been defining features of modernity and continue to play a major role in contemporary society. We are committed to developing interdisciplinary projects and dialogue with artists, arts organisations, academic institutions and communities to interrogate the place of the psyche within contemporary and post modern culture. PS/Y seeks to traverse the boundaries that separate areas of knowledge normally thought to be separate to open up new fields of enquiry. We aim to create new creative insights to engage diverse audiences for an interdisciplinary arts practice that aims to explore the relationship between mind and body in Western culture.
Director: Errol Francis
Curator: Mette Kjærgaard Præst
Research Consultant: Dr Victoria Tischler
Creative adviser: Nike Jonah
Hysteria 2017 is a multi-disciplinary arts festival that will take place across a range of venues and institutions in London. Building on the critical framework established by Anxiety and Acting Out festivals, Hysteria 2017 will explore the intersection between arts and mental health with a focus on how psychological trauma is experienced as physical symptoms. The festival will present a programme of exhibitions, performances, screenings, discussion events, workshops, residencies and community engagement, aimed at combined arts audiences, artists, scholars, scientists and students with interests across the arts, humanities and medical sciences. The festival will include visual art, film, performance, dance and music.
PS/Y Director Errol Francis and Curator Mette Kjærgaard Præst are researching the different iterations of hysteria and its evolution into conversion and psychogenic disorder in relation to issues of gender, race and cultural identity. Hysteria and conversion disorder raise issues about contemporary society, especially how our experience of physical health is linked to psychological wellbeing.
Hysteria 2017 will explore these areas through an arts programme including visual art, moving image, sound and movement. We are currently in conversation with artists and biomedical partners with whom we aim to explore the contemporary medical definition of conversion disorder, aspects of self-harm in relation to gender and cultural identity and the historical theories around hysteria. We are particularly interested in how an exploration of hysteria can open up a debate about related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, psychogenic and psychosomatic disorders and the substantial role that they play in medical presentations by patients. By focusing on this area we aim to artistically explore the way that mind and body are articulated in Western medicine and the somatisation of psychological trauma as physical symptoms.
Our previous experience of delivering the Anxiety Arts Festival 2014 and Acting Out Nottingham 2015 has demonstrated the potential of exploring mental health issues through the arts because of the wide audience we reached and the interdisciplinary dialogue that was promoted. With the present theme of hysteria we want to promote an exploration and discussion about the relationship between mental and physical health that is bound up with the concept of conversion disorder. The outputs that we envisage are four commissions that will explore different dimensions of hysteria and its modern conceptualization as conversion disorder.
With Hysteria 2017 we are aiming to reach a mixed arts audience including those interested in mental health, service users, clinicians, and academics to promote an interdisciplinary public dialogue between the arts and mental health.
Acting Out Nottingham 2015 was a public engagement progamme that celebrated artistic expression through performative engagement at the interface of art and mental health through an investigation of the concept of ‘acting out’.
The starting point for the programme was the contested term ‘acting out’, which connects psychological language with the rhetoric of social order and performativity. This exploration is intended to facilitate collaborations between arts and health disciplines in order to change the way that deviant behaviour is perceived.
Our approach was based on the history and understanding that the term ‘acting-out’ reveals. On the one hand, it references the contested discourses surrounding mental illness, stigma and discrimination whilst, on the other, it refers to the aesthetic relationship between psychoanalysis and social order.
Acting Out Nottingham was realised in partnership with: University of the Arts London, Nottingham Contemporary, Primary, Broadway Cinema, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, and Rampton Hospital.
For Hysteria 2017 PS/Y is researching with:
Larry Achiampong – visual artist, whose work employs imagery, aural and visual archives, live performance and sound to explore ideas of cross-cultural and post-digital identity
Candoco Dance Company – London based contemporary dance company of disabled and non-disabled dancers
Dr Stéphanie Courtade – French psychiatrist
Sander L. Gilman – distinguished professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences as well as Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University
Florence Peake – dancer, choreographer, visual artist and teacher
Jocelyn Pook – music composer for film, television, theatre, dance & the concert platform
Farah Saleh – Palestinian dancer and choreographer, who works with gestures, art and political change
S P Sashidharan – Psychiatrist based in Glasgow. He is Hon. Professor at the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Hon. Consultant with Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, and Board Member of Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
Cally Spooner – visual artist. Her diverse practice includes essays, media installations and live events, which grapple with the organisation and dispossession of that which lives
Victoria Tischler -Professor of Arts and Health / Head of Dementia Care Centre, University of West London
Dr Isabel Valli – Neuroscientist at Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College and Consultant Psychiatrist, COAST First Episode Psychosis Service, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
Cara Tolmie – visual artist working within the intersections of performance, music and moving image
Zadie Xa – London based Canadian artist whose work explores identity, desire and personal fantasy